The Historic Pull of the Lever
My son jumped up in bed when I woke him this morning and immediately wanted me to carry him out of bed. Normally he likes lounging half asleep in bed for 15 or 20 minutes before getting up. But today was election day and he was excited.
"We don't want to see ANYMORE of George Bush and John McCain," he keeps saying.
About a month ago he asked for an Obama button. Well, I figured he just wanted to be like mom and dad. But it went beyond that. He was PROUD of that button and showed it off at his childcare. He'd quiz people on who they supported,
He has been dreaming about election day with an excitement that rivals his anticipation of his birthday.
Joy, Jacob and I all went to vote together (the teen had school...her main concern is that she no way, no how wants Sarah Palin to win). We voted at PS 282 in Park Slope. We expected a line but WOW! It was much longer even than the long lines in 2004. When we got there it went out the door, around the corner, down the street, around another corner onto 5th Ave, then we got in line at the restaurant Kiku. When we left we checked again and it went around yet another corner and halfway up another block. And everyone was eager to vote. No one complained about the line. Everyone realized that it was an amazing day and the long line was a part of that day.
Later we saw the lines at PS 321 and MS 51. They were MUCH shorter than at PS 282. I suspect the wait time at those locations was about 20 minutes.
Jacob was patient through the whole wait. We had food for him so eating kept him busy for about half the way. Then he played with Joy's camera.
Our wait, despite a longer line than 2004, was not as bad as then. We only waited an hour. The election officials were amazingly efficient. We feared a three hour wait. It only took a third of that. We didn't even have to break out the emergency stash of toys to keep Jacob busy.
Jacob's excitement increased as we neared the school building.
He got to pull the big lever for both Joy and me. "We vote DEMOCRAT," he proudly said. "Certainly NOT Republican." As we were leaving, he was beaming with a sense of real accomplishment.
Even at 4 years old, Jacob knows this is a special day.
We only saw three people campaigning. Devin Cohen, a friend of ours running for Civil Court judge, was at PS 282 meeting people. His sense of commitment is such that even though he has no opponent in the general election, he feels it is his duty to be out on election day, meeting people and thanking them for their support. As we talked with him from line, someone came past and yelled to us, "Vote for him! He'll make the best judge ever!" She didn't realize we already knew him.
Then we met Pedro Monge, running as a Republican and Conservative against Assemblywoman Joan Millman. First thing that struck me was that Republicans in Park Slope run primarily on an anti-Atlantic Yards stand. I remember that was what Yvette Clarke's Republican opponent ran on and that is what Pedro is pushing. A note to my fellow Democrats: Atlantic Yards is such a lousy development plan that even Republicans oppose it!
Problem is, and this was the second thing that struck me about Pedro, was that he, like most Republicans these days, pretty much uses lies as their primary tool. Last night I was marveling at the blatant and nasty lies used in a John McCain ad. McCain has NOTHING to offer, so he lies, lies, lies to try and get votes. Sad to say, Pedro Monge's pitch was also based on lies. Too bad since he seems like a nice guy and his platform isn't bad...better than a Vito Lopez or Dominic Recchia, at least on paper.
But Pedro is not running against a Vito Lopez or Dominc Recchia...he is running against Joan Millman. Pedro's main pitch was he is anti-Atlantic Yards and Joan Millman is pro-Atlantic Yards. Sorry, Joan Millman has been pretty consistently against it as long as I have known her. Pedro! I am sure you can pitch yourself without lying about Joan Millman's stands! But Joan has voted against much of the state funding for Ratner and has publicly opposed Ratner's plan. She has not been as active as Velmanette Montgomery and Tish James in her opposition, but she cannot be called a supporter. Why do Republicans lie to us!
As we passed MS 51 we saw two guys passing out literature for our friend Josh Skaller for City Council in 2009. Early start, getting his name out a year early. Josh has done amazingly well in fundraising for a grassroots progressive and is already starting to use it. He already has a ground game and was already called the most interesting person in the race to replace Bill de Blasio by the Brooklyn Papers. Josh is out there today campaigning and he has people working for him passing out literature. In NY 2009 will be the big year and Josh is one of the people to watch.
Now time to wait for the results.
By the way, the very first results of the day...from New Hampshire. Traditionally Dixville Notch, NH, gives us the first actual results each election. This year, Dixville Notch went for Obama more than 2:1
Which is amazing since as far back as 1988 the town consistently voted Republican...even Bill Clinton couldn't win the town even with Perot on the ballot.